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The Board of Alders City Services and Environmental Policy committee approved a finalized plan for a new monument that will replace the previous statue of Christopher Columbus in Wooster Square park.

This decision — made by the Alders on Nov. 3 — along with the detailed plan, was the culmination of over a year’s discussion following the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in June 2020 after contentious public debate over colonial statues. 

The plan was presented by the Wooster Square Monument Committee. The Committee selected the sculpture “Indicando La Vie Futuro,” a piece by Branford-based artist Marc Anthony Massaro, which will depict an Italian immigrant family — seeking to celebrate Italian-American heritage. 

“[The monument] represents a depiction of the immigrant experience in New Haven and exudes the diversity of our community in a spirit of inclusion,” said Adriane Jefferson, director of cultural affairs for the city of New Haven.

Adriane Jefferson, on behalf of the New Haven Cultural Affairs Commission, expressed “unanimous support” for the proposed monument in a letter to the Board of Alders.

The new monument will depict a mother standing behind her daughter, holding a book while the father — to the left — holds a suitcase in one arm and a young boy in the other. The son points toward the sky, a symbolic gesture that represents aspirations for a better life and future.

The statue will stand on a single piece of granite, Wooster Square Monument Committee co-chair Bill Lovanne explained in the meeting. He added that it will be positioned in front of the original stone podium that held the Columbus statue, which was preserved when the statue itself was removed. This juxtaposition of the old pedestal and the new monument “ties the old with the new,” Lovanne said.

But not all New Haven residents were supportive of the proposal. Frances Calzetta, president of the American-Italian Women of Greater New Haven organization, expressed her dismay at the selected monument.

While the new monument portrays a typical Italian immigrant family, Calzetta expressed her belief that the community should celebrate the image of an exceptional Italian-American who embodies the success and contribution of Italian immigrants in America.

“I think it’s an abomination,” Calzetta told the News. “It’s a disgrace that Italian American people have disgraced themselves by throwing away Columbus and choosing to do a statue — which could have been a very good statue — but choosing that particular statue that represents a very, very poor image of the Italian American immigrant.”

Calzetta served on the Wooster Square Monument Committee for several months before quitting last year due to her disapproval of the Committee’s approach.

“[Members of the Italian American community] had all kinds of suggestions for the new monument, individuals or groups as individuals, such as all the Nobel Prize winners, the astronauts, and the committee just ignored everything,” she said.

She also said that numerous individuals in the community wanted the Columbus statue restored in Wooster Square Park.

Iovanne said the Board of Alders will issue their final approval of the project in November.Still, the American-Italian Women of Greater New Haven are refiling a lawsuit against the city with attorney Patricia Francisco in hopes of returning the Columbus statue to its original place. During the first hearing, the judges ruled in the city’s favor but gave the organization a window of opportunity to resubmit the lawsuit, according to Calzetta.

The Italian American Woman of Greater New Haven is an outgrowth of the former American Committee on Italian migration, which was formed in 1951 in New York City.

Hannah Kotler covers Cops & Courts and Transportation for the City desk. She is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles majoring in Ethics, Politics, Economics.